Suwon City v Ansan H, Saturday 28th July 2012, 7pm

Suwon City against Ansan H was the second National League game of the day for Jen and I. The problem though, was getting there. We’d watched Yongin City take on Busan Transportation earlier in the afternoon and had an hour between the games to get from the Yongin Football Centre to Suwon’s Civil Stadium.

We’d arrived at the Yongin Football Centre by taxi but the downside to watching games out in the countryside at a venue surrounded by not much more than fields is that it’s not quite so easy to find a taxi when you want to leave.

We’d stood at the roadside for a few minutes without seeing a taxi when I decided that I might as well stick my thumb out and try to hitch us a ride. As a kid I used to do it all the time, hitching to Boro games, up and down to London, across to The Lakes and in the summer that I left school, around France.

`Vers Avranches, si vous plait’

Hitching had worked for me in Korea a couple of years ago when I’d been stuck at a National Park with a potentially lengthy wait for a bus back into town. On that occasion the first car to approach screeched to a halt and a Korean couple eagerly took the opportunity to practise their English on me.

It was a similar situation this time and a car stopped for us within a minute or two. The couple were elderly and and spoke little English but they very generously went out of their way to drop us at the Yongin Bus Terminal. They did suggest to us that if we were intending to make a habit of watching lower league football in remote locations then we might want to give some thought to buying a car. Fair point, I suppose.

With kick-off nearing we took a taxi rather than a bus from Yongin and half an hour later we were at Suwon Civil Stadium. Jen and I had turned up there for a game earlier in the season but the ground was still being refurbished at that time and we ended up watching Suwon City play their match in the Big Bird Stadium of their K-League neighbours instead.

The place certainly looked as if it had been smartened up. The seats were new and seemed larger than usual, the running track had been relaid and there was enough fresh paint about the place to suggest that a Royal visit was imminent.

I was pleased to see that the old floodlights had been kept.

In a nice touch a tower similar to those in the Suwon Fortress wall had been included behind the goal to our right. It looked completely pointless, which makes it even better in my eyes. I did wonder as to whether they had knocked one of the originals down to provide the building materials. Next time we visit I’ll try and have a closer look.

Just in case the Japanese decide to invade again.

There were probably about three hundred fans in the stadium, most of them in the main stand where Jen and I were sat, with maybe fifty or so Suwon fans singing behind the goal to our left. There were a lot of young girls amongst them and at times they seemed more like a baseball crowd than a football one.

Suwon City fans beneath the scoreboard.

Ansan had brought seven fans with them. Despite their low number they put the effort in and supplemented by two drums and one of those metal things that the Buddhists bang the seven of them kept the noise levels up.

“Give us an H”

Suwon were in their usual red and blue stripes with Ansan in yellow shirts and blue shorts. Imagine Crystal Palace playing Sweden and you wouldn’t be too far away. Every time the visitors put a cross into the box I was half expecting Henrik Larsson to get on the end of it.

Palace defend a Sweden attack.

It had still been nil-nil when we had arrived ten minutes into the first half. Suwon had most of the play but it was Ansan who had the ball in the net on the half hour. Unfortunately for them the linesman had his flag up for something or other and it didn’t count.

Ten minutes later Suwon opened the scoring with a diving header from Park Jong Chan. They doubled their lead in the second half when a shot from the edge of the box squirmed under the Ansan keeper’s body. A couple of Suwon fellas chased it over the line to make sure with Yoo Soo Hyun getting the credit for the goal.

Second half action with the floodlights on.

Whilst there were plenty of chances in the remainder of the second half there were no more goals and Suwon took the three points.

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